On 02 February 2019, the 2019 Montana Bouldering Championships were held at SteepWorld Climbing and Fitness in Billings, Montana. Approximately 75 to 80 competitors climbed for four hours and logged their attempts and ascents, with a witness initialing each of the ascents. Old and young alike turned out for this climbing competition, and it was certainly fun to watch! The raffle was a blast, too, and I won one of the raffle prize packages – the one that included a pair of Metolius Rock Rings!
Though I registered for the competition, I did not even take my climbing shoes because my injured hand, thumb, and wrist are still in a hard splint and I didn’t want to tempt myself beyond reason. It turns out that if I had sent just one problem, I could’ve taken third place in my division, haha! Anyway, things being what they were, I chose to do something different with my time. I encouraged my friends who were climbing, but I also had other plans to execute.
I decided that, since I couldn’t climb and chose to leave my own “tools of the trade” at home, I would collect data on the other competitors’ “tools of the trade” – their climbing shoes. I tallied how many of each type of climbing shoe I saw being used on the wall by brand and shoe model for La Sportiva, Scarpa, and Five-Ten. Other brands, such as Evolv, So Ill, Mad Rock, Black Diamond, Butora, etc., were tallied by brand only and not by model because there was only one of each model to be tallied in most cases concerning the other brands. In most cases, I can still remember what model of the other brands was used in certain instances.
After tallying shoe brands and models being used for the initial competition, I then made note of the climbing shoe brands and models being used by the 12 competitors in the Open Finals, both Men’s and Women’s. The point of this was to find out if the top climbers’ shoes were in proportion to the tallies of their respective brands and models used during the four-hour qualifying round of the competition.
The results might surprise you. Read Part 2 of this series of blog posts tomorrow to find out more!